Saturday, June 7, 2014

Song of the Week

Rush/"Force Ten'/Hold Your Fire

                   Hold Your Fire is one of Rush's most critically underrated albums of all time.  To many fans enamored with the band's grandiose, "proggy" late 70s and early 80s output, Hold Your Fire and other late 80s works like Power Windows and Presto seem like a sellout and a decline in the quality of the band's work.  However, from a compositional standpoint, Hold Your Fire is actually more mature and arguably more complex in its songwriting than the band's early, more recognizably progressive rock efforts; although Rush transitioned to using more standard, accessible song structures as time went on, they also incorporated more layers of sound than ever before, enhancing harmonies with synthesizer washes and multiple vocal tracks.  Furthermore, whereas Rush's early work included very little variations on repeated themes - the verse of a song might be repeated three times with practically no variation (excluding lyrics), for instance - Hold Your Fire shows the band reaching the apex of an era in which they incorporated more variation in their treatment of themes, making the songs more compositionally deep and interesting.  The album's upbeat, energetic opener "Force Ten" perfectly exemplifies these trends in Rush's compositional style.

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